‘Bullied’ Girl Burns Herself

A Year 13 student is dead after she burned herself following allegations that a school teacher bullied her by exposing her phone text messages to others. The death of Navneeta
01 Apr 2015 09:00
‘Bullied’ Girl Burns Herself
Year 13 student Navneeta Devi of Jasper Williams High School, who died on Monday after setting herself alight.

A Year 13 student is dead after she burned herself following allegations that a school teacher bullied her by exposing her phone text messages to others.

The death of Navneeta Devi, 18, a student of Jasper Williams High School, Lautoka, has gone viral on social media.

Her mother, Roshini Devi, 43, of Teidamu, Lautoka, said, “ask the teacher, will she be able to give me another beautiful daughter like this?

“She was our only daughter and now she is no longer there just because of some bullying by a teacher.  She has been part of Jasper since kindergarten.”

Ms Devi alleged a female teacher had confiscated Navneeta’s phone during the Lautoka athletics zone competition at Natabua High School on March 20. The phone was a gift for her 18th birthday.

“She did ask me to take the phone to school since she wanted to take pictures with other class mates,” Ms Devi said.

“We received a phone call from the teacher asking us if she was given the permission to carry the phone and we said yes.

“Then we were told to come on Monday.”

On March 23, Navneeta’s father, Narendra Chand, went to school and signed the complaint form indicating the phone would be returned after the year end.

On March 24, Navneeta did not go to school because she was sick

The following day, March 25, Navneeta went to school and her form teacher called that she was sick and for a parent to pick her up

“My daughter had told us that the messages on the phone were read to other teachers including students as well which did upset her,” Ms Devi said.

Mr Chand was called to take their daughter home since she was still sick.

Ms Devi said: “Navneeta came home and went to sleep around 3pm. She later woke up and made my cocoa and ate curry.”

She said at 4.15pm Navneeta poured kerosene over her body and set herself alight.

“I was cutting bean outside. She took the gallon kerosene, told my sister-in-law to wear her flip flop and go inside the house,” she said. “I then tried to call her and she did not answer but I could hear someone making loud steps which were coming from the toilet. I knew that she would be in side. I had to bump the door and saw that her top body was on fire. Neighbours came running and placed her under the shower. When we touched her body we got burned. We rushed her to hospital.”

At about 11pm they reported the matter to the Police and in the morning the mobile was taken by Police.

Navneeta died from 69 per cent of second degree burns.  Ms Devi said Navneeta had shared her dream to move to Liverpool, Australia, to continue her studies to help the family since her father, Mr Chand, 48, is the sole bread winner.

“It is very surprising to see her end up this way. She was a quiet child but that’s what she was,” she added.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro confirmed  the incident.

“It is alleged that the students had alleged to have set herself alight after pouring kerosene. Several people have been questioned and released as investigations continue,” she said.

She added there had been allegations levelled against certain individuals claiming their actions led to the victim taking such actions.

“We request people not to jump to conclusions and allow investigators to do their work as they try to establish the circumstances surrounding her death.”

Principal Kanacoco Seniloli refused to comment but said, “So sorry I won’t be able to make any comments.”

PTA president Anald Jacobs said, “I wish not to make any comments on the above issue.”

Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy said yesterday that he would comment on the matter today.

The school is owned by the Methodist Church. Its president, Reverend Tevita Banivanua said: “I have not received any information and I have no idea about it. I was away and just came back into the country today so I cannot comment any further.”

Reverend James Baghwan, secretary for communications and missions,  said he was also not aware of any such incident at the school. He said the process would be the school would notify the ministry first before reporting anything to the church.

He said they would only be able to comment when they received particulars.

Navneeta will be cremated at the Drasa Cemetery, Lautoka, today at 1pm.



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